Educating kids on fire safety, prevention important — state fire chief

Children helping firefighter with the water hose.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Dec 22: Teaching fire safety and prevention to young children is important as the knowledge can help to significantly reduce the number of fire cases involving children.

Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) Sarawak director Khirudin Drahman pointed out that fire safety education programmes carried out in Kuala Lumpur from 2014 to 2017 proved this to be true.

“Children can become the firesetter, especially at home, because they are curious about fire and playing with matches or lighters because they don’t understand the consequences.

“But children who have participated in fire education programme become more aware of their responsibility and this, in turn, helps lessen risky behaviours that could lead to a fire or injury as well as helping them stay safe if a fire occurs,” he told reporters today.

Khirudin (back, third left) and other firefighters delighted to teach young children from D’wira Educational Centre about fire safety and prevention.
Children practising how to ‘stop, drop and roll’ in the event that their clothes catch fire.

He was met after officiating a fire safety education programme organised by Commonwealth Journalists Association (CJA) Sarawak for about 40 young children aged between four and 12 from D’wira Educational Centre at the Bomba headquarters in Jalan Setia Raja here.

Bomba, Khirudin emphasised, takes public education on the importance of fire safety and prevention, especially among young children, very seriously.

“That is why I am here today because we recognised that education is a critical aspect of fire prevention and our target group is children because they will be our future and who will inherit our responsibility,” he said.

This programme, he added, reinforced key fire safety messages in a fun and engaging way to grab the child’s attention so that they could easily understand and be more aware of the dangers of fire as well as in helping them prepare and respond to a fire emergency.

Children practice crawling low under smoke to escape a room.
Young children excited as they get to ride in a fire truck.

“Through this programme, we hope to build an educated and proactive community toward the prevention of fire and, thereby, help to reduce fire losses in Sarawak because we should all realise the devastation and suffering of a fire disaster.

“Fire can be prevented, and the best solution to fight fire is to prevent fire. There is no other option. We have experienced fire devastation in Sarawak and even with the most advanced firefighting equipment, still precaution, protection and prevention (3P) is the key,” he stressed.

In the programme, children had the opportunity to meet local firefighters and learned about the good and bad about fires as well as practised escaping from a room filled with artificial smoke by crouching down very low and crawling along the perimeter of the room to an exit, and to ‘stop, drop, and roll’ when their clothes catch fire.

Later, the children got to ride on the fire truck around the compound of the premises with the siren ringing and helped firefighters used water hoses.

CJA Sarawak president Alice Wee was among those present. — DayakDaily